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Protect Your Oil Paintings Against Rips and Tears

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By Laura Kadi, Art Conservation Intern, Guest Blogger

Laura Kadi, Guest Blogger

Laura Kadi, Guest Blogger

Rips and tears happen. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes not. Sometimes your beautiful painting is in reach of your bipolar child with scissors who cuts up your art like this painting below.


Or sometimes, your angry and vengeful lover knows the value of your painting and tears at it with a knife in the heat of an argument like this painting below.

Ripped Painting by Granville RedmondWhether it be by accident or on purpose, things happen and these are just a few tips for you to consider to prevent any ripping and tearing of your artwork.


Art Shipping Precautions

Shipping is always scary because you’re leaving your precious art in the hands of another person/company and out of your control. To make sure your art is safe from being ripped during any rough handling, take these precautions:

Wrap the piece with plastic sheeting, then bubble-wrap, then add one piece of card board on each side front & back, then double-boxed. Remember to never let the tape used during packing touch the artwork or the frame. Consider that insurance and an experienced or more careful mail carrier may bring you greater peace of mind.  An art transport truck could be reliable too if there are multiples or over-sized pieces.

Hang a Framed Item Safely

When hanging a painting from a wall, one needs to make sure everything is set and strong. You don’t want paintings falling from earthquakes or being knocked over by kids playing tag. Not only can the painting get damaged by the fall, but if your wires aren’t properly placed, they can tear the painting as well! Here are some things to remember when hanging a painting from a wall:

-Quality and large eye hangers that hold the wire.

-Thick wire, preferable plastic coated

-Nail in wall hits a stud. If not, use a multi nail hanger made for drywall.

-Use the largest hanger possible on everything… even if the framed item is small

-Use Museum Wax in the lower two corners to anchor the painting against the wall and so it won’t “jump” off the hook when things start to shake.

Click here for a short video

A Lining May Help

There’s a huge difference in the tears of the two paintings above. The first painting is completely cut apart and has to be put back together like a puzzle while the second one is merely scratched on the surface. Why wasn’t the second painting completely cut through when it was ripped at with a knife? This is because of the lining that was added to the back of the painting previously. A good lining adds support to a painting and creates a sort of wall so that anything sharp doesn’t completely go through the painting. Because the first painting didn’t have any lining, the scissors were able to completely cut through the canvas. Paintings don’t usually come with a lining unless they’ve already been fixed before, but having a lining is a good precaution to take if its going to travel, especially if your piece has been damaged before.


These are just a few tips you can take to prevent any ripping or tearing of your artwork. To learn more about how you can protect your valuable items at home, follow us on Facebook. Click here.


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